Today, Washington's rushing effort was totally overshadowed by the amount of sacks and negative yards given up. The Huskies managed to gain 105 yards on the ground, but gave 71 yards back to Cal, and netted only 34 yards on 33 carries. Kenny James led the team with 68 yards on 12 carries, averaging 5.7 per carry. Shelton Sampson finished with a -1 net yard.
Third-Down Conversions Given Up:
2002: Opponents converted 40% of their third-down attempts.
2003: Opponents have converted 37% of their third-down attempts.
On third and long (6 or more yards), the number of big plays given up are:
|10-19 yds||20-29 yds||30-39 yds||40-49 yds||50+ yds|
The defense didn't do a great job on third downs, allowing a 41.7% conversion rate (5 for 12). Two of Cal's five first downs came on third and long, where the Huskies gave up plays of 17 and 30 yards. It's difficult to focus on third downs when the other team racks up a school record 729 total yards.
2002 total: +1
2003 to date: –6 (-3 today)
Two interceptions by Cody Pickett in the first half helped seal the Huskies' fate. (He actually threw three, but one was called back by a penalty, and Donnie McCleskey somehow dropped a wide open ball). The first interception was to James Bethea who returned it 21 yards to set up a Cal touchdown. The second pick was thrown at the Bear one-yard line to stop the Husky efforts just before the half.
Charles Frederick also fumbled a punt in the third quarter, but Cal failed to capitalize after missing a 43-yard field goal attempt.
It was interesting to watch the Husky sidelines after Cal's opening 79-yard bomb. Phil Snow immediately met with the secondary, gave some special attention to starter James Sims. Manase Hopoi walked back and forth along the bench where the whole defense was sitting and patted every single one of them, trying to give them encouragement. Well, the defense sort-of regrouped … they only gave up 3 points on Cal's next drive, in which J.J. Arrington busted a 51-yard run.
Speaking of big plays, here is a list of the yards given up via the big play by the Husky defense: 1st Quarter (79, 51, 31, 13); 2nd Quarter (68, 12, 17, 15, 14, 17); 3rd Quarter (15, 15, 40); 4th Quarter (30, 18, 51).
Bran Vanneman got a start at right guard today. On the Huskies' second drive, Clay Walker was shaken up, making a thin offensive line about as thin as it could get. In to take his place was Stanley Daniels, who was moved to the OL after Tusi Sa'au went down three weeks ago. The offensive performance on the afternoon was pathetic, gaining only 293 yards, and converting only 2 of 14 third-down attempts.
After the first quarter, the Husky offense was outgained 250 to 36. Heck, WR Geoff McArthur accounted for 131 yards himself in the first. By halftime, the Bears had already racked up 457 yards. After McArthur's 40-yard grab in the third quarter, he became the first player in Cal history to have four games with over 150 receiving yards.
With 4:49 remaining in the first quarter, Washington got their first finger on QB Aaron Rodgers. It wasn't a sack, but at least he felt some heat – at least for one play. Despite the special teams pinning the Bears deep on their first three drives, they marched through the Husky defense faster than a hot knife through butter on a 100-degree day. Suffice it to say, Rodgers had all day to pass and the receivers had large cushions in which to operate. By the way, the second touch on the quarterback came with 2:57 left in the first half. The Husky defense finished with zero sacks.
Echemandu–who?? Remember earlier in the week when you felt that tinge of hope after hearing that TB Adimchinobe Echemandu was injured? Well, Cal didn't miss a beat with the number 2 and 3 guys. J.J. Arrington and (Neuheisel target recruit) Marcus O'Keith held up quite nicely. Arrington finished with a career-high 185 yards, and had Cal's longest run of the season, 68 yards. O'Keith also went over the century mark with 107 yards, and fourth-stringer Michael Porter threw in 73 yards and a 51-yard TD. Although Echemandu was listed as probable, he didn't see any action, but did he really need to?
For those of you lucky enough not to see this game on TV, Reggie Williams lined up as the one back on many sets. Most of the time he went in motion, taking a safety out of the middle of the field. The one time he did run, he gained two yards on a sweep, which set up the Pickett interception just before the half. Williams finished the game as the Huskies' third-leading rusher with his two yards.
Odds and ends: With 14:22 left in the first half, Reggie Williams had his first catch, for two yards… With 2:23 left in the first half, the defense had their first stop – and that was Cal missing a 50-yard field goal attempt… Props to the Cal marching band for performing a wonderful half-time tribute to the staff's favorite Earth Wind & Fire (although they proceeded to play too many bad 80s tunes)… Cal's first punt came with 6:20 remaining in the third quarter (but the Huskies proceeded to rough the kicker and also muff the punt)…With 11:59 remaining in the game, Casey Paus took his first snap.
One mystery remained for those of us on press row … why were there seemingly two representatives from the Fiesta Bowl in attendance? With these two teams fighting for bowl eligibility, one would have expected to see the Silicon Valley coats taking a look … of course, with how good Cal's offense looked today, they probably could finagle a Fiesta Bowl invite afterall.